Terrific Twelve: Simpson Leads the Way as Express Beat Columbus State 83-68

Terrific Twelve: Simpson Leads the Way as Express Beat Columbus State 83-68

By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director

Trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half, the Express would go on a 24-7 run before halftime and close the game on a 33-18 run en route to a 83-68 win on the road against Columbus State.

The game was tight over the first seven minutes of the ball game, with Owens leading by a handful of points until the Cougars got the lead at 13:31 mark in the first after a free throw by the Cougars' Anthony Butler to put the home team ahead 12-11. Columbus State would go on a 12-2 run to put themselves up 24-13 with 8:44 to go in the first half. It was capped off by a pair of free throws by Mario Young. 

Larry Green would start the comeback though, with a three pointer at the 7:05 mark of the half, and when the clock hit zero, the Express were on the right side of a 37-31 half time score. Marquevious Wilson's jumper with 14 seconds left in the first half was the exclamation point on the Express's plus 17 finish to the game's opening twenty minutes. 

The Cougars would not go away however. Columbus State would pare the Owens lead to just in the first four minutes of the second half, on a Chris Byrd three that made the score 41-40 in favor of Owens. The Express would go on a 9-4 run to push their lead back to six, but the Cougars would answer with a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game at 50-50 with 10:54 to play in the game. 

That's when Larry Green got hot. The freshman would hit four three pointers down the stretch for 12 points, while Gabe Simpson scored 9 points to help the Express pull away over the game's final ten plus minutes to secure the 15 point win in the team's final regular season road game of the season. 

Simpson would finish as the game's leading scorer with 24 points on 10-19 shooting. He also finished with seven rebounds and four steals on the afternoon. Green was hot off the bench. He scored 15 points on 5-8 shooting from beyond the arc. The scoring output is Green's career high in his short career with Owens. 

Three other players would finish in double figures. Julian Egbo scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting and he also grabbed eight boards in 22 minutes of play. Marquevious Wilson scored 11 points despite shooting just 5-15 from the floor. He also tied Gabe Simpson for second on the team in rebounds with seven. Jamiri Bennett had a solid outing as well. He scored 10 points on 4-8 shooting. He also grabbed six rebound and led the team with five assists during the game.

Dru Pettigrew also chipped in eight points of the bench as well in 18 minutes of action. Columbus State was led in scoring by Chris Byrd with 18 points. Anthony Butler had 15 off the bench for the Cougars.

The Express shot 40.3% (31-77) from the field and 38.5% (10-26) from three during the game. They were a perfect 11-11 from the charity stripe. The Cougars shot 37.1% (26-70) from the field and just 15.4% (2-13) from three. 

Owens is now 19-7 overall after the win and 13-2 in the OCCAC, which keeps them a game behind Cuyahoga in second place with one game to play. The win was also the Express's 12th victory in a row. This is their longest win streak of the season, which started back on January 10 with a 89-63 win over Sinclair College. This is the program's longest winning streak since the 2005-2006 season when the Express won 14 games in a row. The current team has a chance to match that streak, if they are able to win the their final game of the regular season and win one game during the District tournament.

Columbus State fell to 16-9 overall and 10-6 in the OCCAC. 

The Express will close out their regular season this coming Saturday March 3rd when they host Clark State . Owens won the first matchup against the Eagles back on January 27 when they won 90-87. Tip off from the SHAC is scheduled for 1:00 PM.